‘The most subversive thing a woman can do is talk about her life as if it really matters’ – Headscarves and Hymens: Why the Middle East Needs a Sexual Revolution

Be prepared: the Egyptian-American journalist and author Mona Eltahawy has some uncompromising views on faith, religion and women. As she told the Guardian last year: “all religions are about controlling women’s sexuality. They’re obsessed with my vagina”. She has written for publications including the Guardian and the New York Times and at times her work and profile has had appalling personal consequences – such as being arrested and physically and sexually assaulted by police, while covering protests in Tahrir Square, Cairo in 2011.

Unapologetic and no stranger to controversy, she’s here to talk about her book ‘Headscarves and Hymens: Why the Middle East Needs a Sexual Revolution’, based on a previous incendiary article confronting misogyny in the Arab world; about being a loud, proud, radical Muslim feminist; and how the battle for women’s bodies can only be won by a revolution of the mind.


About The Author

Mona Eltahawy

Mona Eltahawy is an award-winning columnist and an international public speaker on Arab and Muslim issues and global feminism. She is the author of Headscarves and Hymens: Why the Middle East Needs a Sexual Revolution. Her commentaries have appeared in several publications and she is a regular guest analyst on various television and radio shows.

About The Journalist

Arifa Akbar

Arifa Akbar is the Guardian’s chief theatre critic. A journalist for over twenty years, she is the former literary editor of the Independent, where she also worked as arts correspondent and news reporter. She has previously contributed to the Observer and the Financial Times. She is on the board of trustees for the Orwell Foundation and English PEN. Short pieces of her non-fiction have appeared in several anthologies. Consumed is her first full length book.